High-speed puncture sends Scorpio flying into big truck on oncoming lane, killing 38-year-old
The black SUV was completely damaged in the accident. Pics/Hanif Patel
In the third fatal accident on the Maharashtra side of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway this year, a man was killed on Thursday after the front right wheel of his SUV burst on the highway. After the tyre burst, the vehicle lost control, crashed through the median and hit the diesel tank of a truck in the opposite Mumbai-bound lane. The impact sent the SUV back over the median and into the original lane. The driver was identified as Arun Kumar Parekh.
Parekh was 38 years old. The accident took place near Khaniwade bridge. Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar (MBVV) police’s Divisional Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ramchandra Deshmukh said, “Parekh was headed to Gujarat on Thursday morning when the front right wheel of his car suddenly burst on the highway, and he lost control. He died on the spot on the lane opposite to the one he was driving on.”
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Praful Wagh, in-charge of Mandvi police station, said, “Parekh was alone in the car. It was completely damaged. We have informed his relatives in Gujarat and they are on the way to claim Parekh’s mortal remains.”
The car that Arun Kumar Parekh was driving. Pic/Hanif Patel
According to a source from the police, when the Scorpio crashed into the divider, it acted like a ramp, throwing the car into the air. “It happened very rapidly. When the driver of the Hyva truck on the opposite lane noticed the flying Scorpio, he veered to the left. Since the Hyva was loaded, it toppled,” said the source. The toppled container halted traffic for a while.
Later, more details about the accident emerged, and Mandvi police in-charge Wagh added, “When the Hyva truck swerved left, Parekh’s Scorpio hit its diesel tank, which sent it crashing back into the original Gujarat-bound lane. By this time, the Hyva truck had toppled, and its diesel tank got damaged too.”
The in-charge of Virar traffic police, Prashant Langi, said, “The truck driver was injured in the incident. Traffic was halted for a brief period. We cleared the road to allow a smooth flow of vehicles on the highway.”
Meanwhile, Wagh added, “The driver of the SUV has been booked under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Section 304A (causing death by negligence) and other sections of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.”
By Thursday evening, Parekh’s family was on the way to Maharashtra from Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
“Parekh’s Aadhaar card was found in his pocket. We used it to check his address, and ACP Deshmukh contacted the local police station in Gandhinagar. One of the officers there then went to Parekh’s family,” Wagh told mid-day. So far, Parekh’s family has only been told that he met an accident and has been hospitalised.
“There were two iPhones on the dashboard of the car, a few bags and other material,” Wagh added. Police have not opened Parekh’s bags so far and are waiting for his parents to arrive. “We will know more about him once his family is here,” Wagh added.
Past mishaps this year
This year’s first accident occurred on January 8 when three from a family of seven were killed when the driver tried to overtake a truck near Kasa but ended up hitting a truck from behind. The family was headed to Bhilad from Nalasopara in a car. Those killed included Narottam Chhana Rathod, 65; his son Ketan Rathod, 32; and granddaughter Aarvi Deepesh Rathod, one.
The second accident occurred in the wee hours of January 31 when the driver of a high-end car apparently dozed off behind the wheel, jumped onto the opposite lane and collided head-on with a luxury bus. All four occupants of the car died on the spot. They were identified as Mohammad Hafeez, 36; Ibrahim Dawood, 60; Ashia Collector, 57; and Ismail Desai, 42. They were residents of Bardoli in Surat. Dawood and Collector had to catch an international flight.
In 2022, industrialist Cyrus Mistry was killed on the same highway, riddled with potholes. Many travellers have lost their lives because of poor road engineering and faulty design of the NH 48.
In a series of reports after Mistry’s death on September 4, 2022, mid-day highlighted how travellers have to cough up toll for the important stretch. Despite the alarmingly high death rates every year, no efforts were taken to correct faulty road designs. At certain patches, streetlights were switched off due to non-payment of bills by the controlling authority, forcing travellers to drive at their own risk.